MARINERONG Pilipino got a taste of victory in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup, and it was a sweet one as the Skippers downed pre-tournament favorite Cignal, 66-65, on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The Skippers leaned on veteran Mark Isip's 15 points to keep them afloat after a slow start, and JR Alabanza came up huge in the waning seconds, blocking Jason Perkins twice.
Alabanza scored only six points but hit a huge basket with 1:11 to go to give the Skippers a 66-63 buffer. He also had five rebounds and seven blocks.
Raymar Jose hit a pair of free throws after that as the Hawkeyes closed in.
That was when Alabanza denied Perkins twice to help the Skippers bounce back from a loss in their debut in the developmental league.
Marinerong Pilipino head coach Koy Banal said the seven-day break after the opening game loss to Batangas gave them enough time to prepare for the Aspirants' Cup champions.
"We were able to give the team ample tim to rest. Lahat raring to play," Banal said. "Ni-remind ko sila na we want to compete until the end. And marami namang nag-step up today."
Achie Inigo scored 13, while Joseph Marata added 11 markers.
Perkins paced the Hawkeyes with 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Hawkeyes dropped to 2-2.
Marinerong Pilipino 66 - Isip 15, Iñigo 13, Marata 11, Moralde 10, Alabanza 6, Lopez 5, Javelona 3, Publico 2, Sargent 1, Nicholls 0, Javillonar 0, Gumaru 0.
Cignal HD 65 - Perkins 15, Jose 11, Sumalinog 11, Batino 6, Raymundo 5, Arong 4, Potts 3, Sara 3, Arboleda 3, Villarias 2, Bringas 2, Cahilig 0, Atkins 0.
Quarterscores: 14-19; 32-43; 56-53; 66-65.